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Grace

By: David Lyda (From: Volume 2 - Issue 2)

“8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

According to The American Heritage Student Dictionary, grace is described as “The state of being protected or sanctified by the favor and love of God.” Grace is love unearned. How many people would love somebody that doesn’t love them? Yet God “so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16). God loved us while “we were still yet sinners” (Romans 5:8).

No matter where we are in life, God is ready for us. God’s favor and blessings come to all people in the form of common grace, as He makes “his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). How much more favor could we possibly receive than accepting Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross? God’s grace is beyond what we can ever imagine.

So many of us get it wrong in believing that we have to live a good life to be saved. This is contrary to what the Bible says about God’s love. It’s “not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Try as we may, we cannot “earn” God’s favor. It is a free gift called salvation. It is the grace that He gives to all those “who believeth in Him… they shall not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

The Bible declares that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The beauty is that is not where the story ends. God is not bent on sending people to Hell for their sin. In fact, He is patient with us and doesn’t desire that “any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:17).

Salvation has always been part of the grace of God. Even in the Old Testament we find that Abraham “believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness” (Genesis 15:6 & Romans 4:3). It is erroneous to believe that the Jewish people were ever saved by obeying the law. In fact, Abraham was counted as righteous some 630 years before the Israelites were ever given the Ten Commandments. It wasn’t the law that saved; it was God’s grace!

God’s grace and mercy are evident when you look at the Israelites in Egypt. The law was not given to Israel until they left Egypt and reached Mount Sinai. God did not rescue them after they lived up to the letter of the law. It was by His grace that they were brought out of Egypt, and it was by the faith of the Hebrews that they moved forward, even crossing the Red Sea. God spoke a reminder before giving the Ten Commandments. “I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage” (Exodus 20:2). Bringing this to mind, obedience to the law should have just been a grateful response to already being saved.

Flash forward to today. We do not live under the laws of the Old Covenant, but we live under the New Covenant of Jesus’ shed blood. There’s no doubt that God still demands a high standard of living. What kind of standard would a Holy God set? Perfection is what we all should pursue (Matthew 5:48). Again, we are not saved by our actions or works. “Being good” doesn’t get us to Heaven. So, if we don’t have to follow God’s law to be saved, why should we live a righteous life? Simply said, we owe it to God. “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” (Romans 6:6).

Jesus Christ gave His life on the cross so you could be saved. If you’ve admitted you’re a sinner, repented, and received Him as Lord and Savior, shouldn’t obedience be a grateful response? He’s given us eternal life through a pardon of grace. Jesus died for us, and He just asks that we live for Him. Is that too much to ask?

How many times do we want to hold on to sin? We enjoy it for the moment but then feel the consequences. Thankfully, God is not sitting in Heaven waiting to zap us. We have an intercessor in Jesus Christ who is continually pleading our case (1 John 2:1-2). God’s grace is in action. He wants us to come back to Him and “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Do you realize that God wants us to forsake sin not only to honor Him, but also to live the most joyous life imaginable?

There is not a single sin that does not have a consequence in the here and now. It may be external, or it may even be internal. The cause and effect of sin is often very obvious to the wise man. Broken families, broken bodies, broken minds, and many broken financial situations all have their root in sin. Where is the joy in that? We feel regret when we do things that are wrong. Have you ever felt remorse when you did the right thing?

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